Knicks: The Offensive Miscues of Nate Robinson

Sean StancillSenior Writer IJanuary 9, 2009

As the offseason looms ahead, the New York Knicks have important decisions to make, primarily about player personnel as fan favorites David Lee and Nate Robinson could be on the verge of departing the Big Apple.

While Lee has continued to surge and construct a contract-worthy resume—17 double-doubles in his past 19 games—Nate Robinson has not and may be making their decision for them.

But first, a brief overview.

At 5’9”, Robinson is easily one of the NBA's most size-diminished players, but makes up for it with sheer athletic talent. Since his arrival in the NBA in 2005, Robinson has seen improvements in points, free-throw percentage, and rebounds in each of his first three seasons.

His immaculate dunks are often a topic of discussion widely referred to as his sole method of scoring, his bread and butter. Also, his actual height has always been up for debate.

But those inequalities have morphed into positive critiques, and along with extra minutes on the floor and deposited time during practice sessions, Robinson has become one of New York's greatest scoring assets and their uncontested Sixth Man.

However, as many players enjoyed the holidays devouring homemade and festive morsels and plunging into dregs of champagne, many of them have already begun the segue process. Nate Robinson has not. 

Since Christmas, his shooting percentages have plummeted and his offensive production has been as consistent as the Celtics—over their last eight games. His last stable production came in the form of a six-game streak of 20 points or more from Dec. 15–Dec. 28, though, even then he couldn't conceal his slump, missing 28 shots from long range.

But back to the current and bigger picture.

Normally the long ball is his most advantageous weapon but as stated above even that hasn't been his saving grace. How exactly has he struggled as of late? 

Over his last five games Robinson has gone 3-30 from behind the arc and has shot below 29 percent in all five contests. He has also failed to reach double-figures three times and has registered more turnovers and personal fouls than assists (18 to 12) during that stretch.

Just how important have his misfires been? The Knicks are 0-8 when Robinson misses 10 shots or more and have been massively outscored 980-871 in those occurrences.

New York suffered their eighth loss in 10 games with an L against the Mavericks on Thursday night. In this game Robinson continued his frigorific shooting percentages going 1-9 from long range and converted only a fourth of his shots that he attempted.

May it be a slump, improvement must be spry as the Knicks have encounters with Western powerhouses Houston and New Orleans in the next four days.

If New York wants any chance of salvaging their season, Robinson must shake off any feelings of despondency and console his jumpshot.